My time is winding down here in McCarthy, and so I’m trying to enjoy the last week of my time in Alaska, which isn’t hard to do with all the September sunshine, a welcome relief after an Angry August of rain and cold. It’s also easy to enjoy the time here because as more and more folks disperse in the annual Alaska diaspora, the bar empties out save for locals. Last night I was chatting with a local buddy at the bar. He lives in McCarthy now, but he’s originally from California. We started talking politics and culture, and eventually he began reminiscing about attending Iraq War protests, back during the Bush years. The protests seemed to have left a distinct impression on him, mostly negative. They felt a bit ineffective, quixotic even. He mentioned a certain festival type of atmosphere, with fire jugglers.
It was encouraging to read about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders visiting Wichita, Kansas, for a massive rally in support of congressional candidate James Thompson. Is the red state ready to turn blue? For those of you who live outside the Midwest, you should that there’s an anti-Trump sentiment that is strong — and growing, and slowly morphing into activism. It’s slow because, frankly, most of us born in the Midwestern aren’t activists, by nature. I won’t be surprised, though, to watch the Midwest develop their own version of a progressive movement and to watch this movement grow deep roots in the heartland.
There is a movement. The Democrats have been forced to shift to the left, on economic issues, which naturally feels like a threat to Dem insiders as well as centrists of all political persuasions. There will be a consistent parade of folks like Comey, warning of the dangers of economically progressive ideas and policies. These will generally be people with privilege but not imagination. A better idea? Join Democratic Socialists of America and work for solidarity and a fair shot for all Americans. =) https://act.dsausa.org/donate/membership/
On the surface, the novel Beloved seems like literature that makes us more aware of the brutality of slavery — the physical and emotional abuses, the violence, and the dehumanization. It is, all of these, of course, but I think that what sets Toni Morrison’s novel apart, and what has earned her the well-deserved international acclaim she has achieved, is that she goes deeper, to really get under our skin, as it were. For me, reading Beloved made me acutely aware of the color of my skin. This is perhaps as good as it gets, when it comes to fiction writing, because Beloved forces the reader to confront themselves in relation to skin color and in relation to the brutality of racism, both past and present. Morrison does all this simpy by being a great writer, by putting the reader there, right there in the middle of it all.
Like most little Alaskan bush communities, we celebrate the Fourth of July with great gusto. We’ve got creative floats in a community parade (and since our parade line is rather small, all the floats circle around and parade through downtown a second time); we get jiggy with tacky red-white-and-blue apparel/decor; and, of course, since this is Alaska, we drink a fifth to celebrate the Fourth. So, we’ve got plenty of the traditional flag waving enthusiasm, but McCarthy has a disproportionate amount of free-spirited, open-minded folk, and there’s enough of a hippie influence out here that being patriotic doesn’t mean being a hater — quite the opposite, in fact.
Amidst the terror of Trump and his Republican reign of cruelty, the resistance continues, and I’m celebrating a big win for grassroots activist and card-carrying Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She defeated the very well-funded New York Democrat incumbent: